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7/8 band teacher, Minnesota

Interesting

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My husband (also a teacher) is a bit of a dooms day thinker, like the author, when it comes to technology and schools. He thinks we will all be replaced, bit by bit.

To me though, it doesn't make sense. Who is going to stay at home with the kids while they learn from home? Where are they going to learn how interact socially? It is so easy to find your niche online - talk about the polarization of our future to the utmost extreme! I hope that as a community of teachers, we make sure that the public thinks about what the unintended consequences of this would be.

That being said, I think a blending of technology is perfectly fine - especially in the high school years.

extension or change??

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Technology in the past has 'extended' what we currently do in the classroom & has not really changed the 'sage on the stage' model. One example is w/ e-Textbooks - do they really change the paradigm? I do not think so - although possibly more engaging, it is just a different version of what we have right now. Blended learning can fall into the same trap of just extending what we do now. However, I do think there are some great paradigm shifting possibilities w/ the advent of blended learning - for example, the concept of flipping the classroom.

Director of Technology, Sylvan Union School District

Just Thinking Out Loud...

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Whether "school" happens in a physical classroom, or whether it happens online, the most important aspect must be about student learning and the role of the teacher. If we continue to address how we teach students in the classroom as we always have, then the vast majority of online learning can handle that particular pedagogy just fine. Whether it is delivered by a an actual persons in the classroom, or online as a video of the teacher providing the instruction, it makes no difference. The majority of what I have seen in terms of online learning has addressed credit recovery, providing instruction in content areas not available to physical schools, such as foreign languages, and some cases for those students that are on an accelerated track. In almost all the cases I have seen the online learning pedagogy is duplicating the traditional classroom pedagogy just delivering the instruction in a digital format and not restricted by time or location. These are features not possible in a traditional classroom setting, so there are some advantages for those students where geography, time, and pacing may be an issue. Also, it should be noted that from my experience the large deployments of online learning environments seem to happen more frequently with students grade 6-12. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we have not been addressing the needs of our students in terms of their learning to prepare them with the skill set they will need for the world that they are inheriting. In both our traditional classrooms and our online schools, again in my opinion, we seem to be preparing them for a world that we've been living in, and not the ones that they will inherit.

In terms of the kinds of skills our students need, it would almost seem that groups of students in a class, whether it be online or in a physical classroom, in a perfect environment, should not be able to tell who the teacher is. It should appear to the students that they as a group, and as individuals are directing the learning, are crafting the assessments, and developing and sharing products that they themselves have decided are important. At least it should appear that way to the students. The "teacher" in this type of environment is charged with guiding the discussions, the actions, planting artifiacts, and resources that guide the students own learning. Pie in the sky? Maybe. However, it would seem to be much more doable in an online environment where the physical structure of a school and the built in hierchy would seem to detract from this type of learning experience. It could be done in a physical classroom, but we'd have to gut the building and practically start from scratch. We may not have such a difficult time if the classroom was essentially virtual to begin with.

Teacher - Head of Dept, high school

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Wake-up and smell the coffee!
The total collapse (how negative is that use of language?) of public schools is well underway, via its own self-perpetuated, 'you can't talk to us professionals, we know best.' self-protective attitude. An attitude which demands, of all its members, that they ignore the inevitable changes going on in every person, family, community, age group, social, economic, political and industrial structure on the planet!
All we get is the knee-jerk, and unenlightened reaction that precludes any 'radical' change, 'cos that must be about losing jobs!
When it comes right down to it, none of us are really concerned about the long-term, just our nearby cozy lives and attractive pensions.
The traditional system of education, was constructed to churn out factory workers for the entrepreneurs of the industrial age! Scrap it and start again, for pity's sake.
Change is well overdue and has only stayed away so long because our governments and local agencies are supporting the unions to perpetuate this money, time and energy wasting, status quo.
It's interesting that metaphors are flying around so loosely, all we have to do is swap them from the negative and perhaps we can talk about what really needs to be done - a positive and selfless re-think, planning ahead and finally rebuilding! This thinking must be forward looking, NOT backward, based on the future needs of our children, their shared societies and the global village, not current jobs.

Great post, but remember one thing...

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Whenever we're talking about the increase of technology in education, it's important to be clear what age level we're talking about and make sure to take the time to tailor our information and consideration to the different developmental stages. While there are concerns about the love affair we're having with technology in the classroom at any age, replacing human interaction with screens in early childhood, no matter how limited, compounds the dominance of screens in those children's lives and has serious implications for physical and emotional health.

Online or not, what matters is the pedagogy ..

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Online education is really another alternative, it can eliminate the limitation of distance and time. If it delivers the quality students need, more learners can benefit from a good system, why not ? The judgement should be about the quality of the education and the best model to utilize the available options which have been broaden by technologies, no matter it's online or not.
http://www.classroom-aid.com/blog/bid/71609/Exploring-the-Practices-of-B...

I'm in. Let's see it, the

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I'm in. Let's see it, the "places of wonder and exploration and inquiry and creation." The environments creating a place to unlock the passion and mysteries of learning that will help our kids face a different future. That's the choice that parents and students are making. . . or trying to make when educators offer them touted innovations packaged as the classrooms of tomorrow which stack up as little more than self-guided, touch and go instruction.

Even now, as research has shown student performance linked to lower student to teacher ratio numbers (i.e. more time with teacher instruction), what sense does it make to create more class rooms with even less teacher time? Really? How does that affect the learning thing? We can do better. Is this really the best way to teach anything? Follow the reading and course outline; write an essay, I'll check in periodically face-to-face and then again online from time-to-time to offer comments on revision. Perhaps relate to a few others online from time to time (isn't that what twitter is all about? As a parent, I've not chosen one online course for my HS student. Not one. I love technology, but I also, love, love, love teaching.

The lead learner. I like it.

Retired Online School Principal

Surprised and look at the research

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It really is all about learning. I am surprised because, as you have taught us over the years, learning can take place in many places - on blogs, on wikis, on social media, etc. It can take place in classrooms and online. So, why not online learning and why not through companies that provide some of the online learning? In the companies talked about in the article, there are teachers at the end of every course. Talk to the teachers teaching in these schools - they'll tell you how hard they work and how they seek to increase student achievement in the same way as brick and mortar teachers. Let's remember that it is the parents and students that are choosing this. No one is forcing anyone into this. And, let's also remember that traditional education is not graduating between 30 and 50% of students every year. What is wrong with new models to provide students with a different education to earn a high school diploma? More on my blog at: http://robdarrow.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/my-teacher-is-an-app-thoughts-...

REALLY? No comments?

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I can't believe that there are no comments on what I think may be the best review of the corrupted process that has stolen Online Learning, commodified it and turned it into a high tech version of the Trojan Horse. Once this virus enters the mainstream and becomes wide spread in our schools- the total collapse of public schools can not be far behind. As a technology person committed to real school reform I urge you read this and react by LEADING.

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